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Remembered Today:

Pte. Brian Max Joseph Barnett MM, 7617 & 283813, 1/4 London Regiment

Ivor Anderson

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Pte. Brian Max Joseph Barnett MM, 7617 & 283813, 1/4 London Regiment, 168 Brigade, 56 (London) Division.


Born: Marylebone, London Q2 1894

Parents: John Francis Barnett and Mary Emily (m.1891, Hampstead, 1a 1361).


Brian was the only son of John Frances Barnett’s second marriage (m.1891) - His first wife Alice died giving birth to their fourth child in 1882.

John Frances Barnett (16/10/1837-24/11/1916) was a composer & Professor of Music at the Guildhall School of Music & Royal College of Music. He wrote the cantata ‘The Ancient Mariner’ and oratorio ‘The Raising of Lazarus’. His father was called  Joseph Alfred Barnett. John Francis Barnett was a nephew of John Barnett (15 July 1802 – 16 April 1890), also an English composer. This John Barnett (Brian's grandfather) was the eldest son of a Prussian Jew named Bernhard Beer, who changed his surname on settling in England as a jeweller. 


1901 Census: 28 Carlton Hill, Marylebone, London. Father 63, mother 33. Older step-siblings William (20) & Edith (21). 

1911 Census: 56 Acacia Road, St. John’s Wood, Marylebone, London. With parents, aged 17, ‘at school’.

1916 Father died 24 November aged 78. Buried Kensal Green Cemetery.


His WW1 service record does not seem to have survived. The 1/4 London Regiment's WD is on the NA site, ref. WO-95-2954-1. 

Formerly 6431 4/3rd London Regiment, and 7617 4 London Regiment. Served in France 15 November 1916 to 28-03-1918 (Medal Roll).

MM listed in LG 30573, 13 March 1918 awarded for Battle of Cambrai, late November 1917, Schedule no. 146161.

A presentation of 4 named (representative?) MM ribbons by the Divisional Commander is listed in the 1/4 War Diary on 16-12-1917. Fifteen MMs for Cambrai are listed in the 4th London Regimental History at the bottom of p.344.


Brian Barnett was Killed in Action 28 March 1918 near Oppy (NE of Arras) during a major German attack. Battalion suffered 2 officers killed, 3 wounded and 5 missing; 15 ORs killed, 43 wounded, 168 missing. He has no known grave and is named on the Arras Memorial to the missing.

His father had died the year before and Brian’s Mother died Q1 1919 aged 53, perhaps partly in reaction to his death.

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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List of 4th London Cambrai awards from the online text of the Regimental History (p.344), and Brian's MM index card from the NA:

Screen Shot 2020-07-26 at 16.04.13.png

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Edited by Ivor Anderson
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8 hours ago, Ivor Anderson said:

13 March 1918 awarded for Battle of Cambrai, l

Same date as my Grandfathers LG entry. I have feeling his action was post Cambrai. His MM was Ratified at Xmas 1917 in a card he was given. He was in 281Bde RFA 56th Div.


The Mars Offensive of 28th March is also of particular interest to me as my Grandfather was gassed on the day, but survived the war.



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Hi Bob,

Yes. It is often hard to pin down the action an award was for without a specific mention. RFA diaries often lack such details. Do you have his MM award card and medal?


It amazes me the number of major battles they had survived up until that point: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4th_(City_of_London)_Battalion,_London_Regiment

From the above Wikipedia Article (I think Brian Barnett may have been in one of the 'two forward companies' on 28 March 1918):

The German Spring Offensive opened on 21 March 1918 some miles south of 56th Division's positions outside Arras. The 1/4th Bn prepared a defensive flank facing south in case the line was turned, but no attack developed until 03.00 on 28 March (Operation Mars) when the battalion's outposts in Oppy Wood came under heavy bombardment. The two forward companies were overrun by 09.00, despite causing heavy casualties with their Lewis guns. The other two companies in the support trench (the Marquis line) then held the attackers while the defensive flank (Ouse Alley) was manned by details from Advanced Battalion HQ, and artillery fire was brought down on the captured outposts. By 11.30 the pressure on both flanks was too great, and the defenders withdrew to the Red Line (held by the London Scottish), having to go cross-country because Ouse Alley was cut behind them. The Red Line was not seriously attacked: despite the 1/4th Bn's sacrifice, the tactic of holding an outpost line to break up enemy attacks was considered a success.

Relieved and moving to a rest area, the 1/4th Bn was lucky to receive two drafts of fully trained reinforcements totalling 420 men, but they came from all over the UK, diluting the Cockney nature of the battalion. For several months the battalion did its share of line holding outside Arras, interspersed with occasional trench raids and bombardments.


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I have both his MM and Commendation (dated 9/12/17). I wish I knew how long it was between the action and Card being signed. I guess it depends on how busy were the Brigade and Divisional Staff.


Have you seen my Post "Mars Offensive 28th March 1918" where I have posted a lot of information about the battle.



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Thanks Bob. I'll read that post thread with interest.

If your grandfather's commendation was dated 9-12-17 it could still be for Cambrai (21 Nov - 2 Dec). The presentation by the 56th divisional commander (where 4 of Brian Barnett's fellow MM recipients were presented with ribbons) took place on 16-12-1917. Your grandfather's MM schedule number 146246 is later than Brian's (146161), but there would have been many divisional awards across all units for Cambrai. 1/4 WD entry for 16-12-17 (from NA):


Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 23.01.30.png

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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Bob, I see you grandfather's is mentioned (with others) in the 281 Brigade RFA's WD on 28 December 1918. The MM of Sgt. E. J. Heath (940057, schedule no. 146200) is listed in the same LG of 13-03-18, and the 281st RFA WD states on 28-12-18 that he was KIA on 13-12-17. He obviously won it before that as MMs were not awarded to those KIA. The 4 MMs listed were likely for Cambrai, though only listed once the award was officially confirmed. 281 RFA WD page:

Screen Shot 2020-07-28 at 14.27.10.png

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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The MM of Brian Max Joseph Barnett of the 1/4 London Regiment; awarded for bravery in action during the Battle of Cambrai:



Edited by Ivor Anderson
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Thanks Ivor I have looked for Info on the other 3 MMs listed to see if that helped with my investigation. I learnt from my Mother that my Grandfather never talked about the war but there was a family story about him and his Sgt being last men standing at their gun. When his sergeant was hit he carried him out. That could just be Sgt Heath.

Also just after Cambrai while the RFA were still in the line there was a Gun Pit explosion in which 3 OR were killed

Add that to actions during Cambrai and I will probably never know the reason for certain.



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A list of the schedule numbers of the 4th London Regiment men awarded MMs for Cambrai shows that most were not consecutively numbered:


These 4 consecutively numbered MMs were presented on 16-12-17 by the Divisional Commander - (listed in the 4 London Regiment WD on 16-12-1917):

280714 Cpl H. W. Wallder  143521 - 4 London Regiment (LG 23-02-18)

280728 Pte G Tyrrell           143522 - 4 London Regiment (LG 23-02-18)

283148  Pte F. G. Senyard 143523 - 4 London Regiment (LG 23-02-18)

280301 Cpl. J. W. Johnson 143524 - 4 London Regiment (LG 23-02-18)


Other MM awarded - not all consecutive - for different days/actions during Cambrai (note 281 RFA MMs mixed among them)?

282737 Pte W. J. Hutchin   146145 - 4 London Regiment (LG 13-03-18) (later MM Bar)

280465 Sgt F Arklay           146146 - 4 London Regiment (LG 13-03-18) (later MM Bar)


283813 Pte. BMJ Barnett   146161 - 4 London Regiment - sole action?

280401 Cpl. T. J. Court       146171 - 4 London Regiment (also no. 298008)

282021 Pte H. Evans         146187 - 4 London Regiment

931022 Gnr J. Fry              146191 - A/281 Bde RFA (LG 13-03-18)

280153 Sgt G. J. Grant      146197  - 4 London Regiment


940057 Sgt. E. J. Heath     146200 - D/281 Bde RFA (KIA 13-12-17)

930168 Sgt. T. W. Hall        146201 - A/281 Bde RFA 


280472 Sgt A. E. Haynes   146205 - 4 London Regiment

281734 Cpl T Hodgkins     146206 - 4 London Regiment


169149 Gnr. H Townsend  146246 - A/281 Bde RFA


283808 Pte W. A. Willmott 146258 - 4 London Regiment (LG 13-03-18)

295223 Pte J Wickins        146259 - 4 London Regiment


283530 Pte C S Ruel         146275 - 4 London Regiment (Bar to MM - prev. LG 18-10-17)


930057 Sgt W. H. Tovey 148306 - B/281 RFA in LG 19-03-18 (281st RFA WD 31-12-17)


DCMs to 4 London Regiment for Cambrai - in LG 30555 - 4 March 1918

280032 Sgt. G. Norris,    281972 l/Cpl. E. S. Brown,    280937 L/Cpl T. H. Sankey  - citation below: 

Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 10.32.42.png

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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